Arrow-right Camera
Subscribe now

This column reflects the opinion of the writer. Learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column.

100 years ago in Spokane: Some kids’ convincing acting spurred a massive police response, and the city’s orchestra inspired an artist visually – not musically

 (S-R archives)

Motorists on the Sunset Highway witnessed an alarming scene – a struggle alongside the road, in which gunshots were fired and two pedestrians were “seen to drop.”

The motorists called police and soon a squad of 30 armed officers, deputies and citizens descended on the area. They spread out and scoured the woods near Garden Springs.

While they searched, the situation sounded even more dire. The posse heard “continued shooting and shrieks” coming from an area south of the highway.

They soon zeroed in on a “lonely house” in the woods, which the squad quickly surrounded and entered.

And what did they find? Not only the two “gunmen,” but their two “victims,” alive and well.

A quartet of 14-year-olds admitted that they had been “rehearsing a scene from a motion picture which they had recently witnessed.”

“They admitted their ‘crime’ of waylaying two of their playmates and shooting them with blank cartridges after a struggle.”

The police officers were not amused. They reprimanded the boys and ordered them home.

From the music beat: An artist named Ralph S. Gordon sat in on a rehearsal of the Spokane Orchestra and sketched out images of three of the principals: conductor Leonardo Brill, cellist Edward Bruck and percussionist Charles Whitehead.

Whitehead was described as a “whole dynamo in himself” who plays “more instruments simultaneously than any other musician in town.” For the orchestra, he played drums, tympani, cymbals and “other sudden noises.”

More from this author